United Methodist Church divests from Israeli Banks
Add another “W” in the win column for the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS)movement.
Earlier this month, the United Methodist Church divested from five Israeli banks, that the church claims are unfit for investment due to their heavy involvement in the oppression of the Palestinian people.
UM Church’s pension fund, Wespath Investment Managment, announced that in an effort to invest only in civilly-conscious organizations, has put Bank Hapoalim, Israel Discount Bank, Bank Leumi, Mizrahi Tefahot Banks, and First International Bank of Israel on a pre-existing list of 34 “high-risk” organizations. The church describes high-risk as any activity that does not promote and protect human rights based on a list composed by Freedom House.
The Israeli banks heavily support and invest in the construction of illegal settlements on Palestinian land. The church’s divestment is the first of its kind; never before has a major church protested Israeli action to the extent of removing funds and banning investment in its companies.
More financial divestments seem to be in the near future for the Church. Divestment resolutions have been submitted for its General Conference later this year, which include four proposals for distancing the church from Israel. The church will vote on divesting from Caterpillar, Hewlett Packard, and Motorola Solutions. The church cites the rejection of UN policy, the supply of weapons, and extensive corporate involvement in occupied land as the reasons for their push for divestment.
UM Church did not respond to Palestine in America for a comment.